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e-Leader Newsletter

February 2019

Preliminary Report # 1 – Dairy Farm Business Summary and Analysis Program

By Jason Karszes

As dairy farm businesses across New York analyze their financial performance by participating in the Dairy Farm Business Summary and Analysis Project, supported by Cornell University, Cornell Cooperative Extension, and Cornell CALS PRO-DAIRY, the change that occurred on farms from 2017 to 2018 can be reviewed. An important function of management is to compare how your farm changed from one year to the next, how this compares to goals, and how this compares to the industry. Understanding what has changed and determining why these changes occurred can help businesses plan changes to improve in 2019.

The first preliminary progress report for farms participating in both 2017 and 2018 has been released. 

Highlights from this first preliminary report:

  • Milk shipped per farm increased by six percent. This was due to an increase in herd size as milk sold per cow was essentially unchanged, decreasing by 15 pounds a cow.
  • Labor efficiency increased four percent.
  • Average cost per hired worker equivalent increased two percent.
  • Total cost of producing cwt. of milk increased $0.10.
  • Total cost of producing cwt. of milk in 2018 ranged from $17.44 to $23.27.
  • Gross milk price decreased $1.06 per cwt. to $17.47.
  • Net farm income per cow without appreciation decreased from $500 to $167 per cow.
  • Labor and management income per operator turned negative, averaging -$133,125 per owner-operator.
  • Debt per cow increased seven percent to $4,049 per cow.
  • Reflecting decreased asset values, net farm income with appreciation was lower than without appreciation, averaging -$76 per cow in 2018.

If you are interested in analyzing the performance of your business, please contact your local Cornell Cooperative Extension office to inquire about what resources are available to assist in this effort.

Employee Compensation Benchmark

Labor continues to be one of the highest priority issues in agriculture. At a time when the economics of farming are difficult, employees are also very scarce, creating a terrible squeeze for many. With labor in such short supply, it is imperative for farmers to compensate good employees competitively to help keep them on the job and performing well. The 2017 Farm Employee Compensation Benchmark by Cornell Agricultural Workforce Development was designed to capture a detailed image of how farm employees were compensated in 2017, including wages, bonuses or incentives, and benefits. Key highlights from the Farm Employee Compensation Report include:

  • Average total compensation for frontline workers was $16.90.
  • Average total compensation for managers was $22.48.
  • Benefits represent about 15 percent of compensation for full-time employees.
  • Hours worked per week reached 80 hours for some full-time workers, while the average was closer to 56 hours per week.

Apply for LEAD NY Class 18

LEAD New York is accepting applications for class 18 through March 1. LEAD NY is a leadership development program for adult professionals in the food, agriculture and natural resource industries of the Northeast. Participants meet monthly from October through April. In the first year, meetings are held at different locations throughout New York State, and the 25 days of training focus largely on self-awareness and leadership skill development. 

Contact Us:

For more information about PRO-DAIRY, visit prodairy.cals.cornell.edu.

Julie Berry, Editor | Tom Overton, Director | Facebook

Diversity and Inclusion are part of Cornell University's heritage. We are a recognized employer and educator valuing AA/EEO, Protected Veterans, and Individuals with Disabilities.

Corn Silage Harvest Equipment Survey

In 2018 the New York Farm Viability Institute funded a project to investigate the influence of corn hybrid characteristics (plant size, dry matter at harvest) on the performance of corn choppers and better understand the influence of corn silage kernel processing on starch availability. The first year of on-farm data collection was completed in 2018 with plans to repeat the field trials in 2019. As part of this project we also aim to better understand how kernel processing units are being managed on farm. Please complete this short survey regarding your corn silage harvest equipment.

Calf and Heifer Management Online Course

March 29 – May 17, 2019

Learn more about calf and heifer management in this seven-week online course. Topics include: calf nutrition pre-weaning and post-weaning, replacement economics, colostrum management, inventory management, genetics, calf health and housing. Presentations for each topic are prerecorded and are accessible at the participant’s convenience. An optional, recorded, live Q & A session with presenters will be held weekly via webinar. Corresponding assignments are due each week. The course is offered through Moodle, an easy-to-use online interface through your personal computer. Cost is $265. Register by March 11 for an early bird discount.

Webinars in Spanish and English

Semen handling: Semen collection and proper handling for successful AI
Manejo del semen: Obtención del semen y manejo adecuado para una inseminación exitosa.
Presenter/Presentador: Javier Cheang, DVM, AI Training Instructor, GENEX

February 27, 2019 @12:30-1:00pm
27 de febrero del 2019

View the webinar / Mire el seminario

“The Good, the Bad and the Ugly" of the dairy x beef calf. Will crossbred calf be an added revenue stream or just a passing fad?
Presenter: Michael J. Baker, PAS, PhD, Beef Cattle Extension Specialist, Cornell University

February 28, 2019 @12:30-1:00pm

View the webinar

Upcoming Programs

CDEP Management Symposium
February 26 - 27, 2019
Syracuse, NY

Join CDEP alumni and other progressive dairy managers at this unique event to strengthen leadership and management skills and network with other progressive dairy producers. The 2019 Management Symposium agenda will feature topics to improve operational efficiencies, focusing on two key strategic concepts: Joint Ventures and Lean Systems. Lean systems has been adopted by different manufacturing and service organizations to improve quality while decrease waste and removing in-efficiencies. Key lean principals will be reviewed, with a focus on the impact they can have and how they can be implemented into day-to-day dairy farm operations. As dairy farms look at different approaches to improve operating efficiency, more questions are asked about joint ventures. Building off the previous management symposium in 2017, three key areas associated with this concept will be covered: Governance, Compensation, and Exit Strategies. One and two day registration options are available online until Friday, February 22. 

Dairy Manager Training
March 2019
NNY, CNY & NWNY Regional Sites

Pesticide Recertification Day
March 12, 2019
Latham, NY 

Labor Roadshow II
March 21, 2019
Warsaw, NY

Herd Health and Nutrition Conference
April 8 - 9, 2019
Doubletree by Hilton, East Syracuse, NY